J. GRIFFITH ROLLEFSON
J. Griffith Rollefson is professor of music at University College Cork, National University of Ireland and author of Flip the Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality (University of Chicago Press, 2017). He has served on the faculties of music at the University of Cambridge and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also served as UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar. This August, Rollefson launches his 5-year community-engaged ERC research project, CIPHER, which will map hip hop knowledge flows on six continents (more info at: https://europeanhiphop.org/ and www.ucc.ie/cipher).
The CIPHER Method: Community-Engaged Scholarship, Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies, and Rico Pabón’s Knowledge of Self
This paper outlines an open, decentered, and unfinished vision for community-engaged scholarship. Employing examples from the Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies initiative at UC Berkeley, it elaborates in theory and method how (and why) hip hop’s community knowledges might (and should) be better valued and leveraged in university contexts. The article argues that hip hop is itself a form of open (and vulnerable) scholarship; that hip hop’s core praxis of “knowledge of self” (KoS) is an intellectually and artistically rigorous form of (counter)history; that hip hop is postcolonial studies. By examining artist-facilitator Rico Pabón’s pivotal role in the project, the paper shows how the unfinished unity of Pabón’s knowledge/performance, content/form, and theory/method can model ways in which to decenter our scholarly praxis and bring our decolonial theory into a pedagogical form more befitting of postcolonial studies.